My wife and I have been attempting to evaluate our lifestyle for some time now, hoping to live out our values as followers of Jesus and to create a sense of equity in our lives with the less fortunate.
We have taken up recycling and composting, selling off our excess and getting back to the basics. In the end, though, we feel unfulfilled. We feel like the very act of buying things from a commercial grocery store or a retail outlet counteracts all of the good that we do in our own lives. Even with cutting coupons and hunting for sales, everything we touch these days is either processed or manufactured.
We considered compacting, a program that is a dedication to buying nothing new for an entire calendar year. This goes beyond recycling, because there is no need to recycle packaging that you avoid altogether. Well, we didn’t end up signing up for that, mostly because we weren’t struggling with buying excessive amounts of new items in the first place. So what are we left with?
There are a couple of options for us. John Cusack gives a compelling, though somewhat naïve, account of what lies ahead for the socially conscious:
Freeganism is a consumerist insurrection. It is technically trespassing to get in someone’s dumpster, but the violation is minor and I have never seen a real consequence. I am not a freegan, by the way. I am bound to the duty of feeding more souls than my own, and I cannot indulge in whatever lifestyle I see fit. I can, however, take some pointers and consider the validity of those whom are making strides to change the way we think about our culture. And that will change the way that my family sees the world, which is what we set out to do in the first place.
If someone were looking for a recipe for lifestyle change, I would recommend trying a dose of something different with a dash of humility, you will be surprised what you can come up with.